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Angels Pitching Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on Three Days’ Rest vs. Rangers

There is only a month left in baseball’s regular season and the Texas Rangers lead the Angels by 2.5 games in the AL West. Texas took three of four from the Angels in Anaheim last week and the teams meet again for a three-game weekend series. Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows time is running out on the season so he’s decided to gamble for the monstrous series; he’s pitching Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on short rest against Texas.

Dan Haren will start Friday against Derek Holland. Haren beat the Orioles the previous week so he has a full six days off. Santana, however, pitched eight innings on Tuesday against the White Sox. He’ll pitch Saturday against C.J. Wilson. Jered Weaver pitched seven scoreless innings on Wednesday to beat Chicago the day after signing a five-year extension with the club. Weaver will pitch Sunday against Colby Lewis.

Neither pitcher has ever started on three days’ rest. Now it’s time to see what they’re made of. Something tells me Weaver will be up for the task. Let’s hope Santana will be too.

Angels Will Have Tough Time Catching Rangers Without More Offense

The Angels are a season-high 11 games over .500 and trailing Texas in the AL West. They haven’t been in first place since May but they’ve been playing good ball lately. Still, there’s reason to be concerned about their ability to overtake Texas.

After a 2-1 win over Seattle Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia pointed out the problem for the Angels. “There has to be more growth offensively with us this last third of the season,” Scioscia said. “If not, it’s going to be tough. But we’re confident that these guys have hit before and they’ll pick it up and start being more consistent in their production.”

The Angels have scored the second-fewest runs in the AL. They’re in the same pathetic offensive category as Oakland and Seattle. Well maybe not Seattle, but the Angels have been pretty bad. They’ve scored almost 200 fewer runs than Boston. On the other end, the Angels have the best pitching in the American League and have been carried by Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

The team didn’t make any big acquisitions at the trade deadline. Scioscia explained the reason saying the team already had the pieces in place, they just needed those players to hit up to their abilities. He’s exactly right. Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, and Bobby Abreu have all vastly underachieved. That’s the heart of the order. Without them going on offensive tears, the Angels won’t be able to catch the Rangers. Sadly, I don’t think it will happen.

Angels Plan to Honor Derek Jeter in September

No player in baseball history will be more famous than Derek Jeter 50 or so years from now.  There’s no arguing that his name will be in the conversation with guys like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantle.  With the career he has put together, Jeter deserves all the attention he has been getting — the HBO special, the MLB.com shop gear, all of it.  Heck, Derek might even deserve the favor David Price did for him.  If you don’t like it, you can always download the Jeter Filter and pretend his 3,000th hit never happened.

Whether Angels fans like it or not, their team will be getting in on the act this September.  According to the LA Times via the Orange County Register, Los Angeles will honor the Angel-killer before the series opener between the Angels and Yankees on Sept. 9 at Angel Stadium.

“We are still finalizing some things,” says Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications. “It is fair to say we want to honor the man, the player and the person in some form.”

As a Red Sox fan I was brought up hating Jeter.  That being said, even I don’t have a problem with the Angels honoring the Yankee captain.  In fact, I wouldn’t even mind honoring him at Fenway Park.  Jeter is one of the most rare personalities you will find in professional sports.  He will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he went through his entire career without tarnishing his name in any way or using performance-enhancing drugs.  Jeter is the definition of one of the good guys.  In fact, he may be the good guy.

Angels Fan Mike Langdon Ends Up in Arte Moreno’s Suite By Mistake

Every once in a while we hear a classic tale from the ballpark that only comes along — as cliche as it may sound — once in a lifetime.  This past Saturday, the script for one of those tales was written for longtime Angels fan and former season-ticket holder Mike Langdon.

The 50-year-old Langdon was invited by his buddy, Brad Stanfield, to attend the Angels-Yankees game and live in luxury with a donated suite that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes — an organization for which Stanfield is a mentor — had purchased.  Langdon and Stanfield certainly got to experience the luxury, but never would they have imagined it would come in the form of the owner’s suite.

According to the story in the Orange County Register via SI Hot Clicks, Langdon went to the will-call window prior to Saturday night’s 6 p.m. game and received an envelope with the words “Owners Suite” on it that contained two tickets.  He was then escorted to a private elevator and up to Arte Moreno’s Owner’s Suite, which Langdon described as being the “size of a condominium and nicely decorated.”  When Moreno himself approached the dry-mouthed Langdon, introduced himself and said, “you must be Mark’s friend,” Langdon nervously nodded in his state of panic.

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Angels Go for World Record with Wrestling Mask Giveaway

As we wrote in March, the Angels had one of the best giveaways ever planned for their May 10th game against the White Sox. They gave away wrestling masks to every single fan in attendance with the goal of setting the Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people wearing costume masks.” Seriously. I don’t even know where they come up with this stuff.

The Angels fans in attendance put on masks to start the fifth inning and the stadium scoreboard began a 10-minute countdown where fans had to wear their masks. While most fans were into it and threw on the mask, there were some fans who refused to put theirs on. Still, after 10 minutes (which spilled over to the bottom of the inning), the Angels were able to set the record.

Of course it was last season when the Angels set the Guinness Record for most people wearing a fleece blanket. The Cavaliers were understandably upset because the Angels blew away the record they had just previously set.

Some people will call it stupid, but all that matters to me is the Angels now have a new good luck charm. I’ll take it. Here are more pictures of the Angels Wrestling Mask:

Angels Broadcasters Put on Wrestling Masks for Good Luck in Extra Innings

The Angels and Red Sox played a marathon game at Fenway Park Wednesday evening that took nearly eight hours to complete. The game was delayed in the top of the 5th inning for 2:35 because of rain. After it resumed, the Angels took the lead but blew it by allowing Boston to score two runs in the bottom of the 9th. The game headed to extras where neither team scored for three innings. Convinced they needed to do something to change the Angels’ luck, telecasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza decided to throw on Angels wrestling masks:

Gubi and Rojas kept the masks on the entire inning and Mark even exclaimed “I can’t see, but it’s working though!” after Howie Kendrick led off the inning with a single. They ended up scoring two runs thanks to a Bobby Abreu single, and they won 5-3 in 13.

If you’re unfamiliar with the wrestling mask, here’s the background. We’ve seen plenty of good luck charms used by baseball teams, but this has to be the best. Nicely done, boys. I credit this victory to you.

Angels May Wind up Having to Release Scott Kazmir

Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir didn’t last two innings in his season debut Sunday, casting serious doubt about his ability to make positive contributions to the team this season. Pitching against the Royals where winds were blowing out at up to 44 mph, Kazmir gave up five runs, five hits, two walks, and hit two batters in one and two-thirds innings. Luckily the Angels rallied to take the lead so he ended up without a decision, but he put the Angels in a serious hole to start the game.

Kazmir allowed two runs in the first and three in the second. He got two flyouts to start the second, but then he allowed a solo home run to Melky Cabrera, a double to Alex Gordon, hit Billy Butler, and a two-run double to Kila Ka’aihue before he was finally pulled. Anyone can get roughed up in their season debut — just ask Fausto Carmona — but the poor outing continues a trend that began last year and was evident throughout spring training.

Kazmir went 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA last year, his first full season with the Angels. He struggled during spring training, posting a 6.65 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. His velocity has been down in the 80s mostly whereas when he had success with Tampa, he used to be in the 90s routinely, making it much tougher to get batters out.

I’m not advocating for a player to be cut after one start, I’m simply pointing out that this is a pattern for Kazmir and he’s turning out to be a bust with the Angels. I supported the trade when Tony Reagins acquired him in a trade in 2009, and it appears as if Kazmir has just lost his fastball. The reality is that if the Angels plan to compete for the AL West title, they won’t be able to keep running out a pitcher with a six ERA every 5th day. Then again, after having the bullpen blow three straight games to the Royals, they may have many other problems that are of concern.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner